What Is Project-Based Learning?

Via What Is Project-Based Learning? – Edudemic.

The development of my practice over the past 12 months has included a strong focus on embedding Personalised Learning into all facets of my teaching and learning. It includes the Project-Based learning approach as an integral element of its success. We are drafting our school policy framework outlining our approach at the moment, and this video from The Buck Institute for Education outlines the key aspects of project-based learning and the drivers behind its success. Enjoy!

 

Do you use PBL in your school/practice? What are its successes/challenges?

Please share your comments and ideas in the space below.

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Graphic Organisers in the Classroom

One of my favourite things about graphic organisers is their application to a wide range of topics and student abilities in our classroom. I find that students learn best when they are made to feel as if they have some choice in their planning approach and, when appropriate, I find that offering a range of planning alternatives is a great way to cater for each individual.

I gradually introduce various graphic organisers through the tuning in part of my lessons throughout Term 1, and encourage their use in reading groups (scaffolded and independently). As the school year progresses, students begin using their prior knowledge to select templates that suit their task. I also have a small window display that I provide for student reference.

There is a huge, potentially endless, range of resources out there. I have narrowed this list down and added some of the ways I integrate them into our classroom learning. Great news for techies too, as there is a growing range of graphic organiser apps being built and shared for iPad-based education!

Websites:

Freeology (Graphic Organisers) – I like this website because of the huge amount of effort that has gone into giving ideas for almost every graphic organiser template. If you want to introduce these to your reading/writing groups there is a great range of ideas located here.

Eduplace – The templates here are clean and simple. They are useful in the Adobe Reader app for iPad, as students are able to annotate and save their work using the app. These are predominantly the templates that I use on my displays and offer to my students.

The graphic organiser BLMS look best when they are printed on to coloured cartridge paper. I have considered colour coding them in the past, but I’m not sure how useful that would be. I’ll get there eventually.

Wordlewww.wordle.net – This fun tool lets you play around with texts that you provide and create a ‘Word Cloud’ that gives frequently occurring words more notability. Before reading a news article I copy the content into the Wordle and my grade hypothesise what the news story might be about.

Apps:

Gliffy – http://www.gliffy.com/ – (Requires signup – Free 30-day trial) A handy resource both professionally and for students’ use. This one requires some time investment but it produces some pretty darn cool results.

Popplet (lite) - iTunes Store – A colleague introduced me to this student-friendly app with a neat, simple interface. Multiple graphic organisers can be saved in one app (Full version only) and then exported as PDF or JPEG files. The lite version allows for one local copy and you can still export your files – I find that this is workable if you are only using it in small groups or have a 1:1 iPad/student ratio.

iMindmapHDiTunes Store – A step up from the simplicity of Popplet but it makes up for it with some trickier user features. The free app is quite restricted but still provides enough options to be worthy of a mention and make the list.

Teacher reference:

Take a Look  (Kath Murdoch) – A colleague introduced me to Murdoch’s inquiry-based teacher tools. Her reflective tools are no exception. This text is well worth a Google.

WA First Steps (Reading, Writing, Viewing) - A formidable resource that we use in our annual, term and weekly planning. They aren’t cheap, but are worth a look from a team based/whole school planning initiative.

Finally…

Today I was in the world of Twitter and I stumbled across this article on the (extremely awesome) tech website, Mashable:

http://mashable.com/2012/07/09/how-to-create-an-infographic/

This has inspired me to lead my Grade 3/4s down the infographic path in Term 4, what possibilities! I’ll keep you posted.

Cheers,

Teddy.

Thank you all so much for your support and kind comments so far. Please use the section below to share some of your uses for graphic organisers in your classrooms, here are some questions to get you started:

Do you have a favourite resource that I haven’t mentioned? How do you integrate it into your practice?

Should we be working towards making everything tech-based (iPads, apps etc.) or do BLMs still have a place in our students’ planning and brainstorming?

Do you have a blog? Share it with us below!


News Shorts, Ed Tools and more.

I’m going to draw from my weekly notes and favourited Tweets to build a range of links into this short monthly section that cover related news, interesting blog posts and recommended Ed Tools. I’ll try my best to experiment with some of the tools offered. If not, I’ll take care to ensure that they are re-blogged from reputable educational sources!

News Shorts

ABC News – ‘What’s in the Gonski Report?‘, is a well constructed article that includes relevant information, some interesting infographics and a pop quiz! (via @wombatlyons)

ABC News – Peter Garrett alluding to the the fact that it could be several years before an overhaul of school funding takes place (video) (@abcnews)

Blogs and Bloggers

The Great IWB Swindle‘ – A thought-provoking, well written blog article that prompted me to reflect on my use of the technology in my classroom. (@richielambert via @kathleen_morris)

Edgalaxy.com – A blog that I have browsed in the past. Regularly has interesting posts and valuable links and ideas. (@AnaChristinaPrts via @mgraffin)

Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom – An inspiring blog that led me to many other intriguing resources that I plan to investigate and blog on in the future! (via the author, @kathleen_morris)

That’s all for now. I am planning to investigate Sqworl and Storify for my next post. If you’re an expert or you have any comments please use the comments section for any feedback or tips!

Cheers,

Teddy.


Handy Web Resource – August

Each month I’ll post one online resource that I’ve used in the classroom. Sometimes they will be effective stand-alone resources that require little explanation. For other resources, where applicable, I’ll also offer some follow-up activities that have extended the learning that the web resource has introduced.

The kids in my grade have had heaps of fun this year being introduced to different concepts via the resources page on the Oswego City School District’s website (above).

Although it isn’t the most attractive links page, there are a range of games, some in successive difficulty levels, that are excellent for tuning in a whole group or reinforcing a concept with a guided group. My students have even enjoyed the Working Mathematically based games (such as Power Lines) during their wet day timetables!

Personal favourites of mine include: Stop the Clock (1-5 offering increasing difficulty options) and, Speed Grid Addition.

You can find the game links at: http://resources.oswego.org/games/

Enjoy!

Teddy.


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